- Unemployment Insurance
- Cash Payment Relief
- Paid Sick Leave
- Paying Rent and Mortgages
- Student Loans
- Food and Nutrition Resources
Before applying for Unemployment, make sure you have all the information you'll need with this application checklist.
To apply for benefits, you will need to create a Secure Access Washington (SAW) account. Be sure to watch this video on how to set up your SAW account.
Check the regularly updated Employment Security Department’s COVID FAQ page for more information.
- Information on how to file for unemployment insurance.
- Information on how to file for workers' compensation.
Visit this list of resources from King County to help navigate different agencies and how to file for unemployment or workers’ compensation.
The CARES Act, recently signed into law, expands and enhances unemployment insurance. Specifically, the bill:
- Creates a new Pandemic Unemployment Insurance (UI) program to provide unemployment insurance (UI) to individuals who do not qualify for regular unemployment insurance (such as gig-workers, part-time workers, and the self-employed)
- Increases weekly unemployment benefits by $600 per week (on top of normal benefit) through the end of July.
- Expands the maximum number of weeks a beneficiary can receive UI by 13 weeks – so workers who exhaust regular benefits would be eligible to receive an additional 13 weeks of unemployment benefits.
Cash Payment Relief
The IRS created the Get My Payment tool, which allows you to opt in for direct deposit for the Economic Impact Payments and check the status of your payment. Get My Payment cannot update bank account information after an Economic Impact Payment has been scheduled for delivery.
People who filed 2018 or 2019 tax returns with direct deposit information or receive Social Security do not need to take action. They will automatically receive payment in their bank accounts.
People who did not file a tax return in 2018 or 2019 can use Non-Filers: Enter Payment Info Here to submit basic personal information to quickly and securely receive their Economic Impact Payments.
Find out if you are eligible, how much you are entitled to, and more at the Economic Impact Payment Information Center.
SUPPLEMENTAL SECURITY INCOME
The Social Security Administration announced that Supplemental Security Income (SSI) recipients will receive automatic Economic Impact Payments directly from the Treasury Department. Treasury anticipates these automatic payments no later than early May.
SSI recipients who have qualifying children under age 17, however, should not wait for their automatic $1,200 individual payment. They should now go to the IRS’s webpage and visit the Non-Filers: Enter Your Payment Info section to provide their information.
ABOUT CASH PAYMENT RELIEF
Most American adults will receive a cash payment from the federal government in the coming weeks to help alleviate the economic impact of the Coronavirus crisis. The payment is $1,200 for each adult, plus an additional $500 for each dependent under 17 years old. There is no minimum income threshold or requirement to receive the rebate. However, the rebate phases out for individuals with incomes of: $75,000 (if your income tax filing status is "single"); $112,500 (if your income tax filing status is "head of household"); and $150,000 (if your income tax filing status is "married filing jointly").
All adults with a Social Security Number who are U.S. residents and meet these income thresholds are eligible, including individuals on Social Security, receiving disability benefits, and receiving unemployment compensation.
HOW YOU'LL GET YOUR CASH PAYMENT RELIEF
The cash payment is not something you need to apply for. It will be distributed to you automatically.
If the IRS already has your bank account information because you filed your taxes in 2019 or 2018, you don't need to do anything. The IRS will transfer the money to you and figure the amount based on the recent income tax data it already has. If the IRS has your bank account information on file, you will receive the money through direct deposit. If the IRS does not have your bank account information on file, a check will be mailed to the address provided to the IRS on your most recent tax return.
If you have not filed taxes in the last two years, consider doing so immediately, as it will speed up the process for you to get your rebate. Alternatively, if you were not required to file your taxes in the past two years and thus did not file, there will be a form for you to submit to claim your rebate - more information on this process will be available in the coming days.
- I am not typically required to file a tax return. Can I still receive my payment? Yes. People who typically do not file a tax return will need to file a simple tax return to receive an economic impact payment. Low-income taxpayers, senior citizens, Social Security recipients, some veterans and individuals with disabilities who are otherwise not required to file a tax return will not owe tax.
- How can I file the tax return needed to receive my economic impact payment? IRS.gov/coronavirus will soon provide information instructing people in these groups on how to file a 2019 tax return with simple, but necessary, information including their filing status, number of dependents and direct deposit bank account information.
Paid Sick Leave
Resources for Employers/Employees on New Paid Sick Leave Requirements:
- The U.S. Department of Labor (DOL) has posted additional Questions and Answers regarding implementation of certain provisions of the Families First Coronavirus Response Act (FFCRA). For your reference, the updated information begins with Question #38.
- WA State Paid Sick Leave and Coronavirus (COVID-19) Common Questions
Paying Rent and Mortgages
If you are unable to make your rent payment, contact your landlord immediately and try to work out an agreement. If you are in need of rental assistance, you can also contact a housing counseling agency toll-free (800) 569-4287. They can help point you in the right direction.
Recent legislation prohibits landlords from evicting tenants for 120 days provided the landlord’s mortgage is insured, guaranteed, supplemented, protected, or assisted in any way by HUD, Fannie Mae, Freddie Mac, the rural housing voucher program, or the Violence Against Women Act of 1994. Information about a moratorium on evictions in place as a result of recent federal legislation signed into law can be found HERE.
NEW EXPANSION OF RENTAL ASSISTANCE PROGRAM
United Way of King County is offering one month of rental assistance to income-eligible people in King County struggling to pay rent. Individuals who need rental help can access the funds by calling 211 or completing an application online.
- You can contact the Washington Homeownership Hotline at 1-877-894-HOME for more information and assistance.
- If I Can’t Pay My Mortgage Loan, What Are My Options? - Information from the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau.
- List of Housing Counseling Agencies in Washington - Housing counselors may be able to assist you with your needs. Contact a housing counselor near you.
- Find out if you qualify for protections in recent legislation by visiting Fannie Mae: Coronavirus (COVID-19) Help and using Fannie Mae’s Loan Lookup Tool or calling 1-800-2FANNIE (1-800-232-6643); or visiting Freddie Mac: Extending Help to Homeowners Impacted by COVID-19 and using Freddie Mac’s Loan Lookup Tool or calling 1-800-FREDDIE (1-800-373-3343).
The U.S. Department of Education is providing updates and answers to frequently asked questions for students and student borrowers on the Federal Student Aid website.
What if I am having trouble making payments?
If you’re having trouble making payments, contact your loan servicer as soon as possible. If you have a Federal Perkins Loan, contact your school. You can easily avoid the consequences of delinquency or default by staying in touch with your servicer or school.
Your servicer or school can provide information about deferment or forbearance options that allow you to temporarily stop making payments on your loans. You may also be able to change to a different repayment plan that would give you a lower monthly payment.
Some students can temporarily stop making payments: To provide relief to student loan borrowers during the COVID-19 national emergency, federal student loan borrowers can be placed in an administrative forbearance, which allows you to temporarily stop making your monthly loan payment through September 30, 2020. Read the borrower Q&As below to learn more, and contact your loan servicer to find out your specific options.
Frequently Asked Questions:
- Do I need to make student loan payments during this crisis?
The CARES Act provides borrowers with relief for most federal loans. The bill suspends payments and interest accrual on most federal loans until September 20, 2020. The suspension of payments would not adversely impact a borrower’s eligibility for loan forgiveness. Additionally, the bill suspends debt collection on federal student loans – prohibiting wage garnishment, tax seizure, and benefits reduction. Monitor the Department of Education’s Office of Federal Student Aid website for the latest updates, which is available here, or call them at 1-800-872-5327.
Please note that, while debt collection is paused for eligible federal student loans, debt collection may continue for other consumer loan obligations.
- What types of student loans are covered?
All loans owned by the Department of Education will be covered under the CARES Act, including having interest waived and payment suspended. Eligible loans include Direct Loans, Federal Perkins Loans, and Federal Family Education Loan (FFEL) Program loans held by the Department of Education. However, FFEL Program loans that are owned by private lenders, and some Perkins Loans which are owned by the college or university you attended, are not covered. Private student loans are not eligible for protection, but you can contact your private student loan servicer to see if they, in their discretion, will provide some payment or interest relief.
- Who should I contact if my servicer is still taking my student loan payments?
If you’re having issues with your student loans, you may want to contact your student loan servicer first. To find out who your student loan servicer is, you can call Federal Student Aid at 1-800-433-3243.
If your student loan servicer is unable to assist you, you may want to submit a complaint with the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau through their complaints webpage, available here. You can also contact the CFPB via telephone by calling (855) 411-2372.
- Secretary DeVos Suspends Federal Student Loan Payments, Waives Interest During National Emergency - Information from the Department of Education.
- Student Loan Deferment or Forbearance - Information from the Department of Education.
- Washington Student Achievement Council COVID-19 Resources - Information and resources from the Washington Student Achievement Council
WA State Food/Nutrition Resources
- This website offers up-to-date information on food assistance resources available to Washingtonians through state, local, and federal programs.
Apply for SNAP (Food Stamps) Benefits
Find a Local Food Bank
- In Western Washington, find a Food Lifeline partner in your area.
- Throughout Washington, find a Northwest Harvest partner in your area.
How do I apply for SNAP?
Visit the WA State SNAP Website. Effective, March 26, 2020 you can apply for Basic Food Assistance online or by phone at 1-877-501-2233. Once COVID-19 is over, we will resume normal operations at local Community Services Offices. Note: the application for benefits is available in several languages (English, Cambodian, Chinese, Korean, Laotian, Russian, Somali, Spanish, Vietnamese).
Do I qualify for SNAP if I am getting unemployment insurance?
Your household must meet certain requirements to be eligible for SNAP and receive benefits, even if you are getting unemployment insurance. If your state agency determines that you are eligible to receive SNAP benefits, you will receive benefits back to the date you submitted your application.
How long will I be able to get SNAP?
If you are determined to be eligible for SNAP, you will receive a notice from the state agency that tells you how long you will receive SNAP.
How much will I receive?
SNAP benefits are based on your family size and income. Are you eligible? Try WA State’s online benefit estimator. NOTE: WA State is providing temporary emergency CR-SNAP benefits so all participating households receive up to the maximum monthly allotment for the household’s size.
What can I buy with SNAP benefits?
You can use SNAP benefits to buy most food items, except hot foods; prepared foods for immediate consumption; alcohol; tobacco; vitamins, medicines, and supplements; and any nonfood items.
Resources for Veterans
What to do if you are a veteran and you think you have COVID-19:
Before visiting local VA medical facilities, community providers, urgent care centers, or emergency departments in their communities, veterans experiencing COVID-19 symptoms—such as fever, cough, and shortness of breath—are encouraged to call their VA medical facility or call MyVA311 (844-698-2311, press #3 to be connected).
Veterans can also send secure messages to their health care providers via MyhealtheVet, VA’s online patient portal. VA clinicians will evaluate veterans’ symptoms and direct them to the most appropriate providers for further evaluation and treatment. This may include referral to state or local health departments for COVID-19 testing.
Updates From Local VA Facilities in the Puget Sound:
Procedures and access to VA facilities are changing frequently in response to COVID-19. Be sure to check here for the latest information on operations at your local VA.
GI Bill Benefits: Student veterans will continue to receive their GI Bill benefits under the Student Veteran Coronavirus Act. Student veterans will not see a reduction in their monthly housing allowance as a result of their schools moving to online instruction due to COVID-19. Benefits will continue automatically and current GI Bill beneficiaries are not required to take any action. Student veterans may contact the Education Call Center with questions at (888) 442-4551 between 5 a.m. and 4 p.m. Eastern Time, Monday through Friday.
Congressional Action to Support Veterans: In the latest COVID-19 relief bill, Congress provided $14.4 billion to support the surge in demand for healthcare services at VA hospitals and clinics. Needs addressed by this funding include:
- Medical equipment, COVID-19 test kids, personal protective equipment
- Expansion of telehealth visits, including tele-ICU and teleradiology capabilities
- Healthcare for Homeless Veterans
- Supportive Services for the Veterans Families for very-low income veteran families in need of services to promote housing stability
- COVID-19 positive veterans within VA-run nursing homes and community living center